Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Will this be the oddest week of the year? Quite possibly. You may have an encounter with a kind of pseudopregnancy, and you could find yourself praying to a god whose existence you never suspected before. For all I know, Aries, you'll acquire a mysterious tool and weird treasure, and you'll be surprised at how much you enjoy the company of people who don't understand you quite the way you thought you needed. But as long as you don't try to force anything to be what it's not, I predict there'll be at least one happy ending.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Soul-sapping influences are everywhere: generic architecture that numbs our desire for beauty, degrading stereotypes about sex and gender, conglomerates that sell us pesticide-laden, genetically modified food, news media that equate cynicism with intellectual vigor, and the mass extinction that's now decimating the Earth's species at a rate comparable to the last annihilation of ecodiversity 65,000,000 years ago. But amid all the loss, Taurus, there is one threat that outstrips all others: the black magic you perform on yourself. By that I mean the ways you hurt yourself while in the thrall of your unconscious conditioning. Luckily, you're now in a phase when you have maximum power to undo these self-administered curses.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I tried to get my manifesto, Bigger, Better, More Original Sins, published in Unrepentant Sinners magazine. Unfortunately, the editors didn't like the spin I put on the subject. To me, the most interesting sins are not decadent vices or bad habits or silly violations of common sense (all of which are the magazine's specialty). Rather, I'm a connoisseur of taboo-yet-uplifting pleasures; I love transgressions that don't hurt anyone and expand my intelligence and improve the world. These are exactly the kinds of frontier-penetrating experiments I exhort you to dare in the coming weeks, Gemini. Have maximum fun as you nudge everyone (including yourself) to rethink their stagnant opinions.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Thieves have been stealing scores of street signs in Bangkok. It seems renegade scrap dealers pay premium prices for the plunder. As a result, the already frenetic roads of Thailand's capital city have devolved into chaos. I want to mutate the meaning of this situation and offer it to you Cancerians as a benevolent metaphor. I believe you would actually thrive on ripping down some of the signposts and boundary markers in your own inner landscapes. Think of how free you'll feel if you can treat your realm as virgin territory. Imagine being able to dream up new names for everything. Visualize yourself gazing upon all the old familiar places with the alert and hungry eyes of an explorer.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Research shows that an average working couple spends four minutes a day talking to each other with concentrated attention. Meanwhile, a typical parent and child engage in meaningful conversation for only 20 minutes a week. I'm bringing up these sad truths, Leo, because you can't afford to reinforce them right now. Success of every kind will elude you unless you devote more time than usual to the fine art of putting feelings into words as you commune with the people who are most important to you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "If I ruled the world," wrote one of my readers, "the rapid consumption of two bottles of Southern Comfort, four malt liquors, and a triple bongload of skunk weed would not result in my best friend's mother's 100-year-old, priceless Oriental carpet being reduced to the condition and value of a pizza accidentally dropped on the sidewalk." While I understand and appreciate these sentiments, I can think of better ways to capitalize on the privilege of having so much authority. Let's hope you will too Virgo. You’re now in the most commanding phase of your astrological cycle. In the coming weeks, you'll have every chance to acquire more clout in your own corner of the world.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My astrological analysis suggests you'll soon be expanding so far and so fast that it will be hard for unexpanding people to keep up. That's why, in order to be of service to you, I'm trying to add 10 pounds to my frame, churn out extravagantly loving thoughts about you and read books by mind-stretching Libran authors such as Oscar Wilde, Doris Lessing, Arthur Rimbaud, Ursula Le Guin, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Samuel Coleridge. You might want to show this horoscope to people you care about in the event they want to follow my lead. That way they won't be left behind as you become bigger, smarter and wealthier.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I don't think you realize how much of your potential remains untapped, Scorpio. Undreamed-of talents and superpowers are still, after all these years, lying dormant within you. Some of them are so alien to your self-conception that they'll feel like magic if you ever learn to express them. Ironically, one very effective way to bring them to life would be to ripen your attitudes about death and dying. Fortunately, neither you nor anyone you love has to meet the grim reaper in order to accomplish this. Generous amounts of uninhibited sex, altered states and emotion-transforming music will work just as well. Adventures in spiritual eros, meditation and sacred chanting would also do the trick.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): According to my reading of the astrological omens, this would be a perfect time for you to declare a general amnesty regarding all matters affecting your closest relationships. Have you been nursing secret grudges forever? Dissolve them. Are you keeping a tally about how much more (or less) you give to your partners than they offer you? Wipe the slate clean. Have you been rigidly holding on to expectations that they will never be able to change? Relax your death grip. Now murmur the following affirmation a few hundred times: "We are free to reinvent the way we are together!"

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Businessman Dennis Tito paid the Russians to let him join their astronauts on a trip to the International Space Station. U.S. officials were peeved. NASA administrator Daniel Goldin raged that it would be a "cold day in hell" before his agency would welcome "tourists" such as Tito. In other words, his taxpayer-supported old boys club wants a monopoly on deciding who gets the great privilege of seeing our planet from space. My feeling is that we should send poets and artists and spiritual leaders up there — imaginative and articulate people who can report back to us on what it's like to be transformed by this rare experience. I mention this, Capricorn, because I'd like you to try an analogous shift. Use the dreamy, visionary aspects of your psyche to survey all the scenes that are normally managed by your logical, organized mind.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In her poetic treatise, A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman notes that human lips, tongue and genitals all benefit from the presence of ultrasensitive neural receptors called Krause's end bulbs. That's why our bodies experience the greatest pleasure there. According to my astrological analyses, Aquarius, your personal complement of these magic buttons is even more supercharged than usual. Not only that: Your psyche itself is now brimming with the fully turned-on spiritual equivalent of Krause's end bulbs.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "Dear Mr. Know-It-All: In one of your horoscopes you said the best way to solve any problem (any problem?!) is to tune in to the "still, small voice" of my "inner teacher." I gave it a whirl. I really did. But frankly, after much trying, I didn't hear a damn thing. Were you just spouting some meaningless New Age crap? —Pissed-Off Pisces" Dear Pissed: It's hard to detect the still, small voice when your brain is swarming with the caterwaul of complaining and cursing, as yours seems to be. Likewise, the voice never tries to scream above the din of your out-of-control inner monologues. Its clear tones arise amid emptiness and calm. Another tip: It neither hates nor judges nor flatters. So try again, please. Current astrological omens are such that you'll have an easier time being reverent and objective. What ideas are you allergic to? What feelings make you sick? Should you immunize yourself against them? Testify at